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Iowa Bill Could Make It Easier for Landowners to Challenge Eminent Domain

Puddle with reflection of trees on land under construction

Eminent domain is a sensitive subject for any property owner. The idea that the government can take your land in exchange for financial compensation – which is arguably not enough in most cases – is understandably not one that sits well with too many people. In Iowa and other parts of the Midwest, the proposed path of the Summit CO2 pipeline has ramped up people’s unease with eminent domain even more than usual. However, a bill moving through Iowa legislation could tip the scales a bit toward landowners.

What is Iowa Bill 2664?

Iowa Bill 2664 (technically, Iowa House File 2664) is designed to make it easier for landowners and pipeline companies to get time before a judge to argue whether an eminent domain request is constitutional. Currently, it may take years before such a case is heard by the court, which rarely, if ever, benefits the landowner. When such lengthy delays occur, pressure mounts for the landowner to just accept whatever amount of money is being pushed on them by the government, even when it is unreasonably lower than the value that a neutral, third-party appraiser might place on the land.

The bill has passed the Iowa House of Representatives. Now, it will move to the Iowa Senate. If it passes there, too, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will have to sign it into law.

Summit CO2 Pipeline Triggers Eminent Domain Challenges

The question of eminent domain’s constitutionality hangs over all Iowans, but it has been brought to the foreground recently due to the Summit CO2 pipeline. The proposed carbon dioxide capture pipeline, if it is ultimately approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, would cross large swaths of land and potentially disrupt countless residences and businesses. The Iowa Corn Growers and its board are backing the pipeline and see it as a way to increase profitability in the local corn industry, which is crucial to the state’s economy, but many locals are not convinced.

Attorney Brian Jorde of Domina Law Group pc llo is representing several Iowa landowners who would be directly affected by the proposed route of the Summit CO2 pipeline. He sees the bill that is moving to the Iowa Senate as a crucial piece of legislation that improves property rights for landowners. As a lawyer who has been featured in the news dozens of times for pipeline-related eminent domain cases and lawsuits, he has seen time and again how frustratingly long it can take for a landowner’s challenge to an eminent domain request to go before the court. In addition to fighting for his clients’ rights in their Summit CO2 pipeline cases, he is also hoping the bill will move swimmingly through the Senate. It passed 86-7 in the Iowa House, with only seven Republicans opposing it, so it seems primed to also pass the Senate without issue.

For more information about this developing story, you can read a full article from 3 KMTV News Now Omaha by clicking here. We encourage you to visit our legal blog frequently for important updates about the Summit CO2 pipeline or to read some of the many other posts featuring Attorney Brian Jorde’s work on pipeline eminent domain cases. If you need to talk to an eminent domain lawyer, you can always call (888) 387-4134 or contact us online at any time. 

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